All the staff at Kingdom will say a fond farewell to Tom McNeil this week when he retires.
Tom is Kingdom’s longest serving tradesman and has worked with the Association as an Electrician since it started up its in-house maintenance team over 12 years ago.
On the eve of Tom’s retirement, Bill Banks, Chief Executive with Kingdom asked Tom about his time with the Association.
Tom recalled that his first impression of Kingdom was that everyone really knew their job well. As our maintenance department was only just a new endeavour everyone involved was extremely helpful to us in setting it up. The office staff were very cheery and made us feel welcome. By us, I mean myself, Adrian and Archie, the two Joiners.
Tom said that during his time with Kingdom he had always enjoyed his work, especially carrying out Change of Tenancies. His reason being that the end result was that someone in need would be getting the benefit of our work.
When asked what he would miss the most, Tom said ‘the good working relationship with my work mates. We all, every one of us shared good times and laughs and this helped us greatly in making the job work. That odd coffee in the morning at the depot, the good humour and goodwill amongst my work mates will be missed. This all contributes to a happy work place’.
Tom said he purposely has not made any plans as such for his retirement but will ‘start restoring an old 1945 radio set then a 1963 Robertson original transistor radio. After that haunt libraries and art galleries. (My wife has alternative plans for me; DECORATING!)’
Tom was born in 1948, the same year as Lulu and Prince Charles. King George VI was on the throne, Clement Attlee was Prime Minister, the Summer Olympics were held in London and it was the year the NHS was formed.
A lot has changed since then and Tom said he ‘also had a lot of good memories of his time at Kingdom including Ian Jamieson doing the ‘hoola hoola’ with an over sized lamp shade! and when assisting a Plumber who removed a shower with no way to turn the water off. We were both soaked through with high pressure freezing water. In the end I had a brainwave to bend the pipe to switch off the water. I can still hear the lady shouting upstairs if everything was alright. I replied ‘yes’ gasping for breath as you do when ice cold December water hits you. After it stopped I said to the Plumber ‘right! I’ll dry the ceiling and you the floor,’ we went through three rolls of paper and we were soaked to the core. Long story, but it all turned out ok.’
Tom has always been a great support to his fellow workers and Declan Cairns who worked with Tom as an Apprentice said ‘I’ve just finished my apprenticeship with Kingdom and during this time I have worked a lot with Tom, I feel I have had one of the best teachers you could ever get to learn me the skills, he has been very helpful and supportive over the last 4 years and if I can be half as good an electrician as Tom is I’d be happy.’
Ian Jamieson who has worked with Tom for over 10 years said ‘Tom sometimes appears quiet but we have had some really funny times while we have worked together, on behalf of everyone who works with Tom I’d like to thank him for the good times and wish him all the best in his retirement; I don’t think he will slow down though!.’
Tom has also said a big thank you to all the staff and his work mates who so kindly contributed to his retirement gifts. This is something he will always remember fondly. Tom said he will miss working with them all.
Bill Banks thanked Tom for his many years service with Kingdom and said he will be really missed by all the staff and also the tenants who enjoyed Tom’s happy and friendly attitude when he called at their home to carryout repairs.
Bill recalled that he was part of the interview panel when Tom was appointed as one of Kingdom’s first tradesmen and he said that as soon as Tom walked into the interview he knew he would be a real asset to Kingdom and he was pleased he had been proved right.
On behalf of everyone at Kingdom, Bill wished Tom a long and happy retirement.